Welcome to my blog. You can read about my adventures in different types of needlework, and I also offer some free
cross stitch patterns. Please, come back often. :)



PLEASE, NOTE: The designs on this site are copyrighted to Agnes Palko. They are for your personal use only. They may not be distributed or reproduced without permission.
If you wish to use my patterns to stitch for charity, please, let me know.


A sweater - my first knitting pattern

I managed to finish my daughter's sweater (or jumper? pullover? - I never know which word is the best) on Christmas Eve. It would have been perfect, only we are 2600 kms apart, so I was very late with it. The way post offices work nowadays, I should have finished it about a month earlier for her to get it for Christmas. So now this will become a New Year's present instead...

The story is, I made this sweater for myself last year. I had this idea in my head: I thought I would knit it and at the same time write down what I do and thus make my first ever knitting pattern. No the first I ever made, I do knit almost all the time following my head instead of patterns. Not always with a big success though. Only I never wrote down anything.
Well, my sweater was ready and full of mistakes. The front and back were different length. I tried to fix it by folding up the edge - it became even worse.

I wanted it to be VERY easy to knit, to have one of those mindless crafting projects I need sometimes, when you don't need to count, don't need to pay any attention, you can just move your hands automatically... I also wanted it to be VERY soft and cosy. So I decided to use a thin sock yarn, Drops Fabel, big knitting needles, number 10, and garter stitch. I also wanted the stripes to go vertically instead of horizontally, so I knitted from side to side.

Well, it was a great project for mindless crafting, that bit was true. It became soft and cosy, too. But the thin yarn and very loose knitting meant that it gets caught on everything, I have already pulled out long pieces of yarn that are impossible to pull back. Luckily, they don't show too much.

All in all, my sweater was not a great success. I don't really wear it outside the home, because I feel it is not nice looking enough. For home, however, it is super, warm without being too heavy. When my daughter visited me last year, she borrowed it and was wearing it all the time, she loved it so much. So I thought I will give it another try, and see what happens. With university, work, moving etc it took me a whole year to finish, but now it is ready. I made a few mistakes on this one, too, but not too terrible ones :D I went down 2 needle sizes, so while it is still very loose, not as loose as the first one, let's hope it will not snag so much.

So here I give you: Eszter's sweater - a loosely fitting size S. Would probably fit an M size, too, but you might need to lengthen the sleeves a bit.

Yarn: Drops Fabel. Or any yarn that calls for 3 mm needles (US 2,5/D-3). This one is 75% wool and 25 % polyamide, a sock yarn, but I am sure 100% wool would work just as well.

Needles: 6 mm (circular) needles (US 10).

Gauge: 16 stitches x 27 rows in garter stitch = 10 cm x 10 cm


k2tog: knit 2 together
M1: make one: knit in the front leg of the stitch, don't lift it off the left needle, knit in the back leg of the same stitch, lift it off. You made one extra stitch.

Back: cast on 120 stitches (With this many it became a bit too long, she can wear it almost as a mini-dress with leggings. At least I think so, we will see when she gets it and tries it on. If you want to make it shorter, try 100 stitches.)

rows 1-54: knit garter stitch (knit both sides)

row 55: k2tog, k2tog, knit to the end of the row (118)
row 56: knit
row 57: k2tog, k2tog, knit knit to the end of the row (116)

rows 58-104: knit

row 105: M1, M1, knit to the end of the row (118)
row 106: knit
row 107: M1, M1, knit to the end of the row (120)

row 108-162 knit garter stitch

Cast off loosely. It is important that the cast off edge becomes the same length as the cast on edge. I had to restart a few times until I found the right tension which was much looser than my usual cast off.

The front is almost the same, only we do more decrease and increase for the neck.

Front: cast on 120 stitches (With this many it became a bit too long, she can wear it almost as a mini-dress with leggings. At least I think so, we will see when she gets it and tries it on. If you want to make it shorter, try 100 stitches.)

rows 1-54: knit garter stitch (knit both sides)

row 55: k2tog, k2tog, knit to the end of the row (118)
row 56: knit
row 57: k2tog, k2tog, knit knit to the end of the row (116)
row 58: knit
row 59: k2tog, k2tog, knit knit to the end of the row (114)
row 60: knit
row 61: row 57: k2tog, k2tog, knit knit to the end of the row (112)

rows 62-100: knit

row 101: M1, M1, knit to the end of the row (114)
row 102: knit
row 103: M1, M1, knit to the end of the row (116)
row 104: knit
row 105: M1, M1, knit to the end of the row (118)
row 106: knit
row 107: M1, M1, knit to the end of the row (120)

row 108-162 knit garter stitch

Cast off loosely.

Sew together front and back shoulders. Measure and mark 30 cm from the shoulders down the sides. This will be the armhole. Sew together from this mark down to the bottom.


Pick up stitches all around the armhole. Mark the beginning of the row at the side seam. Knit on circular needles like this:

For me it was 84 stitches.

Round 1: knit
Round 2: purl

Repeat these two rows 7 times (=14 rounds)

Then we begin to decrease:

Round 1: knit
Round 2: purl
Round 3: k2tog, knit to the last 2 stitches, k2tog
Round 4 purl

Repeat these four rows 16 times (= 64 rows) (52)

(At about 60 stitches I switched to double pointed needles, I found it easier to work with them.)


Round 1: knit
Round 2: purl

Repeat 6 times (=12 rows)

(This length should be enough for my daughter, considering that the sweater has drop shoulders. In case you need longer sleeves, count how many more rows you need and divide the decreases accordingly, perhaps every fifth round).

The cuff was made with a *knit 2, purl 2* rib, in 24 rounds. Then I folded the live stitches back to the beginning of the rib, on the wrong side, and dropping them one by one from the needle, sewed them down. I found this is much better than any cast off when one needs a flexible opening.

Then, of course, repeat the whole thing for the other sleeve.


Pick up stitches around the neckline, knit a *knit 2, purl 2* rib in 24 rounds and finish off the same way as the sleeves.

Weave in all yarn ends. It is possible to block the front and the back before sewing them together, but the sleeves need to be blocked afterwards anyway, so I am just blocking the whole thing now when it is ready.

Here is a picture of it lying on my yoga mat, blocking the body. I will have to block the sleeves next because I don't have a big enough mat.

This is my first ever knitting pattern, please let me know if you don't understand something or if you find a mistake.
Happy knitting!


Christmas ornament

Hello, dear Friends,

Christmas is upon us in just a few days. I am sure most of us are busy preparing for the festivities. But if you need a bit of me-time, a bit of relaxing, or perhaps a last-minute gift, here is a small Christmas pattern that you can stitch. It works well for an ornament, a card, or a decoration on something like a doily, a bag etc.

I made two versions: one with a golden garland wrapped around the greenery and one without, if someone prefers simple.

The pattern says DMC 3854 for the "gold", but I would actually stitch it in metallic gold instead.
I think this would look lovely if the French knots were replaced by beads, too.

Happy stitching and happy preparation-time. Don't overdo it though! :D


Colouring pattern in cross stitch

Hi, everyone.

I was looking at some colouring books that are so much a fashion nowadays. I haven't really tried any of he adult colouring yet but have bought some and have some lovely pencils, too. Perhaps in the holidays.

By the way, I find this word "adult" a bit funny, don't you? When I first heard it I thought it was something else... :D

All these colouring books gave me an idea. And so here come the first (at least as far as I know - have you seen anything like this before?) colouring pattern in cross stitch.
I made the outlines in black, and you, dear friends, need to fill them in with colours. I think it might be a perfect way to use variegated thread, too.

I hope you give this a try and report back to me how it went.

I made one coloured-in version too, just to see how it looks in many bright colours. If you want to use that version instead, you can download that as well.


Christmas ornament freebie - and some heirloom embroidery from the Ukraine

Hi again, dear friends,

I have been busy with moving to a new flat and trying to organise my things. I am still not really done, but at the same time I started to get ready for the Christmas market so the flat needs to wait :)
I was actually considering not going to the market this year. It is lot of work, lots of stress and it is really not worth it, at least not financially. I learnt a lot while preparing for the markets in the last few years, and it was great fun, but I only made very little money, definitely not worth all the work I put in.

But then I got the possibility to go to the Christmas market in Uppsala Castle, which is organised by the Museum of Arts. So I thought I want to give it a try again and see what happens. It might be different audience from the small country markets where I went before.

I received a fantastic birthday present from my boyfriend. He found some really old embroidery on ebay or some other online place, from the Ukraine, from between the two world wars. They are really beautiful. Here are some pictures. I hope I will have time to write about them in more detail later.

And finally, I have made a small Christmas ornament pattern to share with you. I was thinking to sew the backstitch lines together, just like we do for a biscornu. But you can also use it in a card. I made it first in red only, then created another version with some green in it, too. Which one do you like better?



Two mandalas - free cross stitch pattern

I haven't written anything here for a while - but I have a good excuse. I am moving flat next Friday, so I am busy sorting and packing things. Most of the boxes are filled with my craft books and stash. Luckily my lovely daughter could come and help me, otherwise I would have had even more problem with my back.

So I really don't have time to write now, nor to sort and organise my latest dyeing samples. But I managed to draw a little pattern for you.

These are two small mandala patterns in black-red-white colour combination. I really loved making them, there might come more later on.

You can use only the circles, I think they would work perfectly for cards. But I draw a backstitch frame around them, and added some small corner elements, so they can be stitched for a pincushion or a biscornu. What else do you think you can use them for?

Have fun, try different colourways.

Happy stitching, friends. Next time I will be writing from my new flat.


Bookmark freebies - and more eco-dyeing from the kitchen

The eco-dyeing saga continues. :D

After all the plants I collected during my walks (see the results here), I got back to the kitchen. I tried red onion skin. Cooked them in water for about an hour then drained them.

I put in the dye quite a few fabric pieces plus a few lace pieces (crocheted and store bought) as well, some of them not white. I simmered them in this dye for an hour then I left them in the pot for a few days. The result is really beautiful.

The darkest piece is some Aida fabric I had that was gray to begin with, unfortunately I don't have a picture of it before. I didn't like that gray, that's why I decided to dye it. The lace that became gray was a light blue originally, here are the two of them next to each other.

I red about avocado skin and pit giving a nice pink colour to wool. I was curious to see if it worked on cotton. I can report: yes, it does. It is really beatiful, at least I think so. Some of the fabric was mordanted with alum and some untreated.

One of the fabric I dyed with the roses before and didn´t like the colour (pale, liveless beige spots) I dyed again in the avocado bath, folding and tyeing it shibori-style. This is the result. Nice, isn´t it?

I also tried pomegranate, with the same method. The result is a lovely golden colour - much nicer than what it looks like in the photo.

Another experiment i did was with a lichen called salted shield lichen or crottle (Parmelia saxatilis, färglav in Swedish, talán pajzszuzmó magyarul, nem vagyok benne biztos). It is so fascinating when you take a bit of grey lichen and it turns things into yellow. At least it is supposed to be yellow on wool. My cotton fabrics turned more to a beige colour but it is nice, I like it. In the second picture you can see a piece that I didn´t wash right away after taking out of the dye but let it dry and only washed a week or so later. The colour has become stronger, especially in the creases of the fabric.

There is more coming, I have bundles in plastic bags and jars full of dye and fabric on my kitchen counter again. Watch this place for more eco-dyeing. :)

And here is another bookmark freebie, or rather three freebies in one pdf file. I loved making them, I hope you will also love stitching them.

Click on the picture for the pdf.

Happy stitching.


Cross stitch freebie + eco-dyeing, more results

I have been busy with sorting out more of my eco-dying experiments from the summer. I am going to show the pieces I tryed to dye with the bundles method I learnt from India Flint.
You take a piece of fabric, pre-mordanted with alum or alum+washing soda, put some plants (petals, leaves etc) on it, wrap it up tightly around a twig (tree bark contains tanin that can also help as a mordant) and tye it all around with a string. Then you can cook them in water or steam them - this is what I tried. See more details below.

It was not easy, as the pile of my samples grows, to keep track of what is what. I tried to number the fabric pieces with a pen - thinking that ink does not come out with washing, so it should be OK. It worked for most of the time but not always, I have some pieces which have the number all smudged out, so now it will be some guesswork. I took lots of photos during the process, and in this post I will try to match the photos of the same pieces together.

All these fabric pieces come from an old, probably hand-woven tablecloth that I bought at a loppis (second hand shop). Looks like cotton but it is possible that it is cotton-linen blend. It was pre-treated with alum and washing soda (2 tbs + 1 tbs to 5 liter water, India Flint's recipe). I tried all kinds of plants and flowers, I was desperately seeking after reds, roses, lilac... even though I read that it is very difficult to get those colours. I needed to see it with my own eyes. And, of course, I did. I mean, I did see that it is difficult :D

The names of the plants come in this order: English (Latin, Swedish, Hungarian).


Brown knappweed (Centaura jacea, rödklint, réti imola) and harebell (Campanula rotundifolia, liten blåklocka, kereklevelű harangvirág)

And the results:


3 Lady's bedstraw (Galium verum, gulmåra, tejoltú galan)

4 Purple flowerewd raspberry, (Rubus odoratus, rosenhallon, lila virágú málna)

5 Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca, kråkvicker, kaszanyűg bükköny)

6 Red clover (Trifolium pratense, rödklöver, réti here))

You cannot see the numbers in the photos, but they are the same, 3-6, in the same order.

Another picture with all of them, 1-6, just before I rolled them up. You can see, I only used the petals and I used some twigs to roll them into, then tied them with a piece of string. India Flint sugests a steamer to steam them for an hour. I didn't have a steamer so I came up with a solution that worked most of the time - but not always. I put water in a plastic container, put the rolls in it but so that they did not touch the water, put the whole thing in the microwave and turned it on for about 10 minutes. The water made steam and I did not open the door for about an hour. I think this is not exactly the same as steaming for real for one hour, but is seemed to work. But who knows, it might have affected the colours that I could get out of the plants. Not much, right? :( Oh, and one more thing: after they came out of the microwave, I put them in plastic bags and kept them out on the balcony (with some sunshine but not much) for about two weeks.


7 Tufted vetch pods (Vicia cracca, baljor av kråkvicker, kaszanyűg bükköny termése)
8 Creeping thistel (Cirsium arvense, åkertistel, mezei aszat)
9 Common agrimony, (Agrimonia eupatoria, småborre, közönséges párlófű)
10 Heather (Calluna vulgaris, ljung, csarab)


11-12 Great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum, rosendunört, borzas füzike)
13 Dog rose (Rosa dumalis, nyponros, vadrózsa)

The first one in this picture is n. 10, see above, the second is 11, and in the bottom row 12 and 13.

The next batch of eco-bundles came a week later.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium, rölleka, cickafark)

Rowan leaf (Sorbus acuparia, japansk rönn löv, madárberkenye levele)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, fackelblomster, réti füzény)
Blueweed, (Echium vulgare, blåeld, terjőke kígyószisz - micsoda név, uramisten!)

And the result - this was the one when I realised that the steaming method I came up with might not work :( There wasn't enough water in the plastic container or I cooked it too long, anyway, the bundle got burned in the microwave. You can see it on the result. And my microwave still smells burnt. :(

kanadensiskt gullris, ringblomma, salvia, ljung

The result:

Common hollyhock (my neighbours have one that is deep purple, almost black) (Alcea rosea, stockros, mályvarózsa)

I decided not to wash it right away, after taking it out of the bundle. So I dried it, and keept it for a week or so.

Then washed it. Not much of the colour is left, but there is some. Kind of greenish-blue. Or bluish-green. (The brown in the end of the fabric comes from the iron rod I used to wrap it in - the iron gave it some extra mordanting - perhaps that's why it became greenish.
Again, not a very scientific way of experimenting. Which I now regret. I should have done two pieces, one with and one without the iron. Next time.

There were a few more plants and lichens I tried but they did not give any results, or - what is worse - I cannot find the sample :D Need to find a better way of marking my fabrics. I will have to buy some permanent fabric markers.

Anyway, to sum it all up, I have found a dozen or so plants that one can use to dye a piece of fabric yellow or beige, some of them a nice shade, most of them not so nice. The malva was the only one that had another colour.

Anyway, now I know. :D Not giving up. Autumn is here, berries and mushrooms might become the next victims. But before that, I still have a bunch of fabric I want to show you. Come back soon if you want to see the results of dyeing with avocado, red onions, beetroot etc.

And for all those who managed to read all this far, a little present. I made this cross stitch pattern just for you :D

Click on the picture to get to the pdf file. I hope you like it.